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Cat Me If You Can: 10/14/20
Cat Me If You Can by Miranda James is the thirteenth book in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series. At the Ducote sister's request, the mystery book club is spending a week at a boutique hotel in Asheville, NC. Their first night there the self proclaimed fiancé of one of their younger members crashes the event and makes an ass of himself. The next morning he's found dead.
Long running mystery series hit a point where I suppose the author is bored of the setting, unless a change of setting is built into the series, such as the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr. To mix things up, the author contrives a vacation for the main character(s). By this time, the series has also probably developed a full supporting cast who play off the protagonist's strengths and weaknesses. These extras have become crucial to the flow of the narrative. The author can either leave them home and make up new characters for this mystery, or come up with a reason (usually a package tour) for everyone to tag along (even if in the past they haven't shared interests with the lead.
Some authors also manage to compromise, having the vacation be somewhere nearby or cut short because of the murder. A good example of this approach is Cast Iron Alibi by Victoria Hamilton. Cat Me If You Can goes for the package tour approach with the added push of the super rich, super influential Decote sisters throwing their weight around (including insisting that Diesel be allowed to stay at the hotel). It's just so painfully dripping with white privilege that I was already put off by the initial chapters.
But then there is the victim. Besides being an abusive, loud mouth ass, he's also bisexual. All of his behavior and everyone's reaction to him (most of which is negative) is attributed to his orientation. This series has had problems before with queer representation but this volume is by far the worst. Second worst honors go to Six Cats a Slayin' for it's transgender murder victim.